So, at night you turn on a computer and search for plants for sale online and find just what you are looking for at the right price. You add to your cart, insert your card details and next thing, plants arrive in great condition by mail to your door. How simple! But how did we get to this place?
How did gardeners buy their plants in the distant past? Better or worse?
Let’s go way back to the sixteenth century where there is evidence of seed and plant sales in England; the earliest surviving catalogue is from 1727. These seeds and plants came from excesses of estate gardens where collections gathered from around the world found a home. In the eighteenth century competition hotted up and catalogues with coloured floral displays, nomenclature, cultural descriptions and prosaic descriptions abounded.
Last century, plants became available across developed continents, foliage plants were sold through 5 & 10 cent stores in the US in the 1930’s. Then came chrysanthemums, potted flowers in the 1950’s and extravagant indoor plant hire; Philodendron on totems growing in spun anodised aluminium pots, leaves all polished and glistening with Albarol white oil. The epitome of desirable living!
Once you had a backyard on a quarter of an acre lot, complete with Lemon trees, vegetable patches and a cricket pitch; todays economies mean something a bit more conservative for many.
Plants came in recycled prune tins, then terracotta pots with cardboard labels and finally plastic pots. You would head down to the local nursery and be confused with the vast array of wonderful species only to end up with a stamp collection of plants.
From a plethora of retail nurseries in the ‘80’s we are now down to one big box store per suburb selling a limited range of plant species. Economic rationalism means little scope for variety outside the popular lines. Nursery staff are more likely to be cash takers than advice givers. From this model that lacks certain elements comes a different one- online sales.
Believe it or not, plants can be bought and posted directly to your door in a timely manner and in good condition. We have figured out how to do this well as evidenced by the number of favourable responses we get. Online is a great way to go- convenient, informed, cost effective and timely, a far cry from yesterdays model!